‘Sort it Out’ – another great board game.

Sort_it.jpgAlways on the hunt for a bargain, I came across this board game for only £10 on Amazon. Considering most board games are in the £20-40 price band, I took a punt and in the basket it went.

It’s one of our most played games at the moment and we have the Australian designers to thank for this one, apparently.

Game play

It took a while to sort through the instructions but essentially it is quite straight forward. You have a huge pile of cards and everybody plays at the same time with one card  – so, as you wade through the pack it will either last you many games or you might be still playing 2 hrs later if you are a bit thick/unlucky! If this happens, you may lose the will to live or need to make sure invited players bring a sleeping bag.

Each turn….

On each turn, a card is chosen, read out, placed where it can be seen/read by all players, and then everybody knuckles down to quickly place 5 items in order before the timer runs out.

So for example, the card might say “Place these animals in order according to the length of their tail” > shortest to the longest.  The list could be ‘Giraffe, Opossum, Kangaroo, Manx Long Horn Sheep, Emperor Bird of Paradise’.

Each item in the list is written inside a coloured block and players have 5 counters of the same colour so they can arrange them in their chosen order.

Once the time is up – you turn the card over and it tells you which order they were (and in this case, the actual length of the animals’ tails) – do your colours match up?

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Sometimes you might think you know the order of 4 of the items – but where you place the unknown one could throw all the others out of place – resulting in none being right! In that sense it’s a bit of a game of luck as well as knowledge.

Part of the fun is  seeing what other people put – and their logic behind it.

There are a good range of topics about all sorts of things, science, inventions, events, history, technology, maths, literature, films, tv, sport – but often with a twist. So for example you might know roughly which years a list of famous movies came out – but can you place them in order according to when the first sequel came out!  So a good blend of easy/straightforward to ‘never heard of any of them’, ‘can’t get my head around this’, questions.  If it looks impossible – we just put it back in the box – there are plenty spare!

Scoring

Oh yes, this is a board game so scoring does come into it. There is no dice – just a board and counter for each player.

You move towards the finish according to how many you got right. On the board are numbers – which tell you how many you move forward for each one you get right. So if you are lucky to be on a number two – you move two places forward for each one you get right.

The snag comes near the end of the board – which is where the game can be a bit long. Here it might say move forward 1 square for every correct answer, but also move 2 backwards for every wrong answer on that go.  Luckily, if you get all 5 in the wrong order, and end up going 10 places backwards, you might reach a safe zone, and not have to go back any further.

Accessibility and adapting the game for players with impairments.

It’s a game anyone can play as long as they are reasonably knowledgable about the world with a suggested age of 12+. I think some cards are suitable for younger children and you could even make up extra cards in terms of language and complexity to make it more accessible for people with learning difficulties.

The print is fairly small – I would say about 12-14 font size, but often in bold.

You will need to be able to put things in order from a list of 5 items (and be able to read the five things in the list).

Each round could be easily adapted for people using keyboards to note their answers or needing to copy the list into braille on the go/ write out in larger print. It would be easy to use an iPhone/iPad or similar to take a quick picture of the card so you have it on your own screen for easy reading and magnifying –  and can then even write on it with a drawing app if that makes it easier to show how you ordered it.

As it stands, you would need to be able to view the card (which is actually hard enough for two players never mind 6).

The game comes with 5 coloured counters to slot into a rack for the ordering process – they go in quite smoothly but are only about 1.5cm square and hard to pick up if you lack finger dexterity. I don’t use the rack and just lay them out on the table.

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You also need to be able to differentiate between the 5 colours (yellow, pink, orange, blue and green). Unlike Ticket To Ride, there are no symbols to help people with colour blindness of any type.

Some of the questions order things like units of measurement and event dates which might be difficult for some people. However, there is a good mix and plenty of cards to be able to leave out any which people find confusing or just too difficult.

Scoring might take some getting used to because of using multipliers and moving both back and forwards.  You could easily just make your own scoring rule of moving one place forward for each one you get correct.

The game is good in that everyone plays at the same time – no waiting for a turn which can often be difficult when keeping attention. On the negative side, your brain doesn’t get a rest!

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